The government has recently announced plans to tighten the regulations on the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving. The changes are planned for next year.
Road Traffic Law – Using a Mobile Whilst Driving
The Highway Code will also change, making it clear that hand-held mobile phone use while stationary at traffic lights or in traffic jams is also illegal in most circumstances.
It is already an offence to use while driving a hand-held mobile phone for an interactive communication function. This includes sending or receiving emails, texts, photos and videos, and accessing the internet.
Next year, the law will go further to ban drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games, a previous grey area.
Drivers will still be able to continue using their device “hands-free” while driving, for example as a sat-nav, if it’s secured in a cradle, provided they are in proper control of their vehicle.
The government says the change is likely to make it easier to prosecute drivers using phones illegally at the wheel and follows a public consultation which found that 81% of people support the planned change.
There will be exemptions for drivers making contactless payments using their mobile phone while stationary. This exemption will cover places such as drive-through restaurants and road tolls, and will only apply when payment is being made with a card reader. It will not allow drivers to make general online payments while driving.
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